After a week leading the Writing for Design jury at D&AD 2016, our Head of Verbal Identity Nick Hynes is still banging on about it. In a good way though. Here are just a few of the things he picked up on over the course of the five days.
1. YOU GO. YOU BLOG.
Absolutely everyone who attended, judge, punter or gatecrasher has to follow up with a ‘10 Things I Learned at D&AD’ blog post. It’s mandatory. I deliberately kept it to seven things. People are busy.
2. I’M JUST A JEALOUS GUY
‘I wish I’d done that’, I hissed as I viewed the stellar work presented in the Writing for Design category. Happened a lot, in fact. But then, I did see some great entries over the course of the week. Standouts for me included Argos Simple Value packaging for its clever, economical use of copy, and the intellectual conundra of the ‘Dear World… Yours, Cambridge’ campaign. Both of these I viewed with admiration and a big green dollop of envy. But then that’s partly the point of the pencils – to make sure old lags like me are always moved to do better. Still, it was reassuring to see that despite all the nonsense currently spoken about creative as ‘content’, what wins through every time is a great idea, brilliantly executed. I can do one of those. Sure I can.
3. FEAR THE YOUNG
Hey. Are you an experienced creative professional? Maybe a couple of awards under your belt? Feeling a bit pleased with yourself? Well stop it. Take a look at the work coming through the D&AD New Blood programme and start being scared. The New Bloods are closing fast and the blood they’re after is yours. Strangely, I am moved to offer every encouragement to this howling pack, before they chew my legs off.
4. WHERE THE HECK ARE YOU?
A funny thing about writing for design, a lot of it doesn’t come from people who write for design. A lot of it comes from people who write for advertising. Nothing wrong with that, but within this category I suspect a lot of great work simply isn’t being entered. Maybe for reasons I’ve discussed elsewhere. Wandering around the public exhibition, I kept coming across work I would’ve loved to see presented in the Writing for Design category. The gorgeous set of boxes within boxes for Fedregoni for example. So don’t be shy, writers in design (or indeed, designers who write). Your work is beautiful. Let’s see it.
5. DO EPIC SH*T
Sorry about that. I didn’t include it just to sound edgy. You can blame Cairo-based commercials director Ali Ali. That was his advice. Best known for his Panda cheese ads, the rest of his showreel had me weeping with laughter. Among the many insights I took from his talk, was his willingness to stand behind an idea he truly believed in. His balls, if you like. So the next time your brilliant idea has the wings plucked off at the first presentation, go ahead and do it anyway. But only if it really is brilliant.
6. THE SECRET OF THE BLACK PENCIL
As a jury foreman I had the honour to sit on the Black Pencil Jury, at which the very best of the very best is decided. Only a couple of black pencils are awarded every year, and only for work that’s truly ground breaking. In hushed tones, D&AD Vice President Bruce Duckworth invited the assembled jurors to pass round an actual black pencil. I turned it over and discovered a little sticker on the base. It said ‘Made in China’. OK, so we had a bit of a giggle about that, but the fact remains I still want to win one. Really badly.
7. I NEED TO DO IT AGAIN SOON
From a creative point of view, D&AD 2016 wasn’t just a matter of recharging the batteries. It was like sticking a wet index finger into the mains. I emerged at the end of the week flushed with D&ADrenaline and I still cannot sleep. Umm, is it 2017 yet?